The raw food diet has a different perspective from the macrobiotic diet when it comes to eating food raw or cooked. While raw foodies suggest that we should always eat food raw, macrobiotic people suggest we should mostly cook food since eating raw food can be too yin.
Which should we listen to?
Well, that is what I am talking about in this series, so stick around.
My name is Sachiaki Takamiya and I am the author of IKIGAI DIET: The Secret of Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity. I have also written books called IKIGAI BUSINESS: The Secret of Japanese Omi Merchants to Find a Profitable, Meaningful, and Socially friendly Business, and Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity: A Teaching of Omi Merchants Who Thrived In 18th Century Japan. I help people lead a lifestyle to stay healthy, conduct a business that you can enjoy and benefits society at the same time, and be successful at your mission so that you can grow spiritually, as well.
I have been eating fruit for breakfast in the last few days, and it seems to be good for me. There is a diet to skip your breakfast to detoxicate your body, and eating fruit may have a similar benefit. It doesn’t cleanse your body as much as it does when not eating but it is less strenuous for the gut to digest food compared to grains such as muesli.
One of the reasons why raw foodies seem to think eating raw is better is that you can gain more enzymes from raw food.
Does it mean people who practice a macrobiotic diet don’t get enough enzymes since they cook most food?
Well, actually, they get a lot of enzymes from fermented food such as miso, shoyu, Natto, and pickles. This applies to Ikigai Diet, too, since we eat a lot of fermented food. Many macrobiotic people eat fermented brown rice, too, and it is also called enzyme brown rice since it contains enzymes.
We also need to think about how to conserve enzymes which we already have within our body such as digestive enzymes and metabolizing enzymes . Absorbing enzymes from outside doesn’t increase the amount of digestive enzymes or metabolizing enzymes, so that we need to do things other than just eating raw fruit, vegetables, and fermented food.
Chewing is one such activity. Chewing, or more precisely, mixing food with saliva helps digest food before reaching to your stomach and eventually to intestines so that you can conserve digestive enzymes there.
So if you don’t chew so much when you eat your fruit, you may be adding enzymes from fruit but still consuming digestive enzymes in the gut by not mixing the fruit with your saliva.
Absorbing enzymes is important but what it is thought to be more crucial in Japanese natural medicine is that you create a good intestinal environment so that intestines can increase their self healing power. Eating Natto is very helpful because it has an enzyme called Nattokinasethey which is said to improve the intestinal environment.
It is a pity, if raw foodies avoid eating Natto just because it involves a heating process when it is made.
The other day, I talked about Shindofuji, eating locally and seasonally. One benefit of eating locally grown food is that it contains local bacteria, and local bacteria are more suitable to your intestines, because you grew up in the same environment. So from a Japanese point of view, it is almost pointless to absorve enzymes and bacteria from vegetables and fruit grown far away from you in spite of the fact that you are eating them raw.
It is okay to eat raw food, but I think it is better if you choose locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, and chew a lot when you eat them or at least mix with your saliva when you drink smoothies.
Click here to get a free newsletter Zen and a Way of sustainable prosperity: Balance, financial success, and sustainability with the secrets of the Japanese Omi-merchants.